I know no.
No, this can’t be happening.
No, I don’t want to lose my hair.
No, thank you, I’ll pass on daily radiation.
In truth, I couldn’t say no, and neither, most likely, could you. We had to figure out a way to square our new horrid reality with ourselves. No matter how much we wanted to turn and flee, we had to face the music.
Last weekend I had the chance to meet an array of women who have stomped on the word “no.” I’ll tell you about two.
Rebecca Byrne, who along with me was chosen as a 2011 Pink Power Mom for her work as an advocate for breast cancer patients, was 13-weeks pregnant when she found out she had breast cancer. Her doctor told her that no, she couldn’t continue her pregnancy. She needed to terminate it immediately, and start radiation.
Rebecca pivoted out of that office and found another doctor, who allowed her to be treated for cancer while continuing her pregnancy. Her daughter Emelia is now a happy 1-year-old, and not surprisingly, Rebecca used that same tenacity to start the We Will Not Lay Down 2 Cancer non-profit.
Karen Neblett, who heads up sales for Kids II, the company behind the Pink Power Mom program, has a different relationship to the word no. Firstly, she doesn’t ever accept “no” as the final answer. She likes to think of a “no” as meaning something more delightful, like “not at this moment in time.” Things shift, she said. Options open up. At its essence, she said, a “no” simply means you must find another path. The path to “yes”.
I am embracing this attitude. Because life can be filled with people telling you “no” for a million reasons, but those who make things happen in this world simply pirouette past the word and sashay on.
So, here’s to staying nimble. Let’s juke, jive, bob and weave around the negatives in life.
Remember, just like the Australian band Bomba said in their song “Busted”:
“Cursed is the walker who will never travel light.”